The best ‘spiritual’ book I have ever read is The Ragamuffin Gospel, and I discovered it through my association with the late great singer-songwriter Rich Mullins. I wrote about it four years ago in a post titled “Ragamuffin.” I am still far from all the answers and I remain a seeker, but The Ragamuffin Gospel rearranged my brain and led me to the clearest picture possible of Jesus, called the Christ. Years ago, I ‘loaned’ my much-used copy to a friend in Tucson. I forgot which friend it was, but she never returned it. That is okay, but I truly hope he found as much value in the book as I did.
A book like The Ragamuffin Gospel stays with you and continues to resurface in your thoughts and contemplations. I ordered another copy – which I will undoubtedly ‘loan’ out – and received it today. I will read it post haste with my yellow Sharpie at the ready.
If You Are Weary
In his preface – ‘Word Before’ – author Brennan Manning concludes,
“[this book] is for smart people who know they are stupid … The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way.”
I’ve often shared with my children that “I became smart the moment I realized how little I knew.” This book was written for me. I share Brennan Manning’s complete preface as a way for you to inventory your conscience and perhaps make a qualified decision to read The Ragamuffin Gospel.
A Word Before
This book is not for the superspiritual.
It is not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne, and not Jesus, their hero
It is not for academics who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis.
It is not for noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion.
It is not for hooded mystics who want magic in the religion.
It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and had never visited the valley of desolation.
It is not for the fearless and tearless.
It is not for red hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the Gospels, “All these commandments I have kept from my youth.”
It is not for the complacent who hoist over their shoulders a tote bag of honors, diplomas, and good works actually believing they have made it.
It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risks of living in union with Jesus.
If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out.
Is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other.
It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.
It is for inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker.
It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents.
It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.
It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a great disappointment to God.
It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scallywags.
The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who is growing weary and discouraged along the way.
I know this book is for me… I think this book is for you… I think this book is for all of us.